Ythan Cycle Club - Physical Training for Cyclists
Tips from Bob Hill - Club Coach

Effort Training consists of periods of hard work with periods of recover. This is performed on a Macro basis (annual training cycle with 'peak' and recovery periods) and a Micro basis (weekly training schedule with hard and easy days).

The hard work will include longer endurance rides (either alone or with others) and intensive interval work (long and short intervals) which can be done on the road or turbo. Some people can get out on the road during the week throughout winter, but many have to stick to the turbo during winter so intervals and technique training are suitable for this medium.

The intervals can focus on high speed endurance or high intensity or power intervals. Road work is likely to include hills which are difficult to replicate on the turbo.

The mixture of endurance, speed, and power work on road and turbo depends on the individual. The actual type, mix, duration and intensity will depend on the following factors;

  • how many years of 'hard' training
  • specifically what training in the previous years (full winter training, intensive training, racing programme, etc)
  • what type of racing or events intended for coming season
  • exactly what their goals are and the timing of events
  • when the intended 'peak' periods during the season
  • what time available for training, daytime and/or turbo
  • what level of commitment - how long prepared to train for over winter period

New riders will improve with just riding more miles preferably with a group to pull their speed up. More experienced riders will need a program to suit their stage in the progression of cycle training. It is difficult mentally to do the same training one year after another. You need to keep changing it to focus on different elements, and to have a stimulus to achieve a training effect.

The Training Programme would be developed by a Coach (or an experienced individual) based on the above factors. If you wish such a programme you can contact Bob Hill on 01358 722449, who will be pleased to assist.

The following notes provide some principles of such a Training Programme;


All 'Effort' training is based on the 'Overload Principle', where you are progressively overloading the body an incremental manner. The body can cope with the gradually increasing demand and responds with an improved capacity to operate at a higher physical effort. The increases must be gradual and care must be taken not to overload the body or it can go into reverse. The Training Programme is designed to effect this 'Overload'.

It is possible to increase the effort and duration of training year on year so the Programme will be to suit the rider and their goals. What type and mix of events and when they wish to peak are all considered. 'Overload' for one rider will be insufficient to create a training effect for another.

There are many methods of Effort training, which can be specific to the type of racing. All of these methods involve establishing the current Baseline performance, normally done on a turbo trainer, then developing the incremental training Programme. This will normally make use of a Heart Rate Monitor and may use a Power measurement device. Some people may prefer to train without these aids but the training indicated here uses a HR monitor.


The two HR Levels to establish are the Maximum and the Anaerobic Threshold. Both will be established by separate tests on the turbo. It is preferable to use a turbo which has power measurement but not essential.

Both tests will have a warm up of 15 minutes, progressively warming up to a good sweat (at a HR of 150 or a power output of 140 watts). For the Maximum Test then progressively increase the effort by increasing the revs each minute - you should aim to increase the power by 20 watts or the HR by 5 beats if you don't have a power measurement. You keep doing this until you reach a point of exhaustion, so you will need someone to record your efforts at each minute and give some encouragement to keep going to your absolute limit. Your maximum HR will be recorded.

Normally the Threshold HR will be around 15 to 25 beats below this maximum so you now have a guide. The Threshold Test has the same warm up and then consists of four 5 minutes successive periods (total 20 minutes). Warm up to 40 beats below your maximum. In the first five minutes get to 25 beats below maximum and then maintain this for the next 5 minutes. In the following 5 minutes get this up to 15 beats below maximum and hold this for the last 5 minutes. This will be very difficult and may be impossible so try hard to get and hold to the 15 beats below maximum. If not then get to and hold what you can for this last 5 minutes. The HR achieved in the last 10 minutes will be your Threshold. If you have experience of using a HR in ten mile time trials then it will be the HR you can get up to and hold for this event.

The Training Programme is based on four Training levels, which are described as below;

Level One easy steady effort recovery ride

Level Two good hardish steady effort can maintain for several hours when fit

Level Three the effort required for a 10 mile time trial on your max for this distance at the top of level three is your aerobic threshold. You can hold this for 10 or possibly 25 miles (if you are fit and motivated).

Level Four now into anaerobic area you cannot hold it for any longer than about five minutes, if you go into this level you will need to drop back to recover. You can use it for the last 5 minutes of a 10 mile time trial.

The HR Level for each is calculated from the 'Threshold' as follows;

  • Level One - Up to '40 beats below Threshold'
  • Level Two - From Level One up to 15 beats below Threshold
  • Level Three - From Level Two up to Threshold
  • Level Four - from Threshold up to your maximum

The following table gives some recommended Training HR Levels;

Max Level 4 Level 3 Level 2 Level 1
210 195 + 180 to 195 155 to 180 up to 155
200 185 + 170 to 185 145 to 170 up to 145
190 175 + 160 to 175 135 to 160 up to 135
180 165 + 150 to 165 125 to 150 up to 125


This is for an individual with limited time who wishes to race in 10 and 25 Time Trials. It does not include any level 4 training through the winter period.

OBJECTIVE:- Build good solid endurance base as a platform for specific race training. Also to maintain a fairly high fitness level.

BASIS:- Hard work Tues - Thurs and Sun. Other days easy/steady.

During the winter period the hard days are at up to Level 3


Level 1 - 60 min (2 x 30 min) (Recovery)

Low level 2 - 3 hr (over 2 or 3 sessions)

Low level 3 - one 60 min session, with 30 mins of it on the level 3


Mon - 30 min - level 1 *

Tues - 60 min - low level 3 (turbo) *

Wed - Day off or level 1 (30 min)

Thurs - Road session 1-1/2 hr - low level 2 *

Fri - Day off or level 1 (30 min)

Sat - Day off or level 1 (30 to 60 min)

Sun - Road session 1-1/2 hr - low level 2 *

* MUST DO - others are optional, but do at least one of them (Fri or Sat)

The Level One sessions can be Round Pedalling, technique sessions on the Turbo (do at least one of these each week)









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